The Dark Knight

Scary. Very very scary. Every time the Joker appeared on the screen I was just shit scared about what he would do next. Joker is so believable, it almost makes me believe he would do anything and the director would not even take a step back to reconsider if he would not want to show the scene. Unbelievably good action sequences – I just lost count of how many times I muttered the F word under my breath.

A tad dense storyline – too much content here… but that just means I would watch the movie at least a couple of times more to let the movie sink in completely. Its a shame Two Face got so less a screen space. I was just hoping that Joker would end here and the third part would be setup for the entry of Two Face. Anyways so, now I am really looking forward to the Riddler. And hoping there is going to be a Batman III.

The weakest link still is Rachel. Maggie is worse off than Katie Holmes. Sorry.

Heath Ledger is posthumously headed for a best actor in a negative role nomination. We will have to wait longer to predict for the Oscar. Overall, as IIITians would say TDK is ‘Okhaaa Raaaaange’.

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IT professionals of AP. Unite against the injustice meted out to us…

Background

  • Mr. Krishna Madiga had raised objection to scenes in movie Kanthri for depicting the SC/Backward castes as criminals.
  • Mr. Krishna Madiga had also raised for another scene in the movie ‘Gorintaaku’ for haivng a dialogue which showed physically handicapped in bad light.
  • Mr. Eeshwara Rao has raised objection to scenes in the movie ‘Ready’ as objectionable to the art of Kuchipudi dance form.

In the light of the above objections raised and in anticipation of many many more objections that will be raised for depicting anything in bad light in movies, I, a IT professional in AP hereby propose that all movies depicting IT professionals in bad light (ugly, with paunches, losers, balding, dowry hungry, comic) be banned immediately. Some of the movies depicting us all in very bad light are Pokiri and Pellaina Kotthalo and many more. We also propose that henceforth no comedian be made to depict our profession as that goes on to show that every IT professional is a good for nothing, loser, ugly guy. We also propose that henceforth only well educated, good looking actors only be used to enact the roles of IT professionals. This is a very serious demand considering the significant contribution IT has done to GDP of India and its image abroad.

I, also propose an amendment to our Constitution to add the 8th Fundamental Right to the already existing rights – the right to feel offended.

P.S: I just hope this revolution will shake the foundations of the Government and make all future film makers take notice of our objections.

PSPS: This form of writing is called ‘sarcasm’.

Not malice, plain zero integrity.

Christian groups expressed their anguish at the depiction of the Jesus Christ in their newspaper (holding a beer can and a cigar). Much as it seems to be projected as an act of malice, I simply see the pure disrespect to other’s intellectual property. Simple modus operandi: Doing of a random search for jesus’s images on the internet (with Google of course), using the first best fit image you can get and then using it without accreditation. That is as far as the journalistic integrity of the newspapers go.

Zaiqa

There is a great conversation between RJ the Racoon and the other critters in the film ‘Over the Hedge‘ albeit exaggerated.

RJ:
[showing the other animals around the houses] They *always* got food with them. We eat to live – these guys live to eat! Let me show you what I’m talking about!

[as he speaks he shows the other animals what humans do]

RJ:
The human mouth is called a ‘piehole’, the human being is called a ‘couch potato’.

[signifies telephone]

RJ:
*That* is a device to summon food.

[signifies doorbell]

RJ:
That is one of the many voices of food.

[signifies front door]

RJ:
*That* is the portal for the passing of food.

[signifies delivery truck]

RJ:
*That* is one of the many food transportation vehicles. Humans bring
the food, take the food, ship the food, they drive food, they wear the
food!
[signifies microwave]

RJ:
*That* gets the food hot!

[signifies refrigerator]

RJ:
*That* keeps the food cold!

[signifies pinata]

RJ:
*That*… I’m not sure what that is.

[kids break the piñata and Verne yells]

RJ:
Well, what do you know? FOOD!

[signifies table where family prays before dinner]

RJ:
*That* is the altar where they WORSHIP food!

[signifies advert for Seltzer]

RJ:
That’s what they eat when they’ve eaten TOO MUCH food!

[signifies treadmill]

RJ:
*That* gets rid of the guilt so they can eat MORE FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! FOOOOOD! So, you think they have enough?

[everybody nods]

RJ:
Well, they don’t. For humans, enough is *never* enough! And what do
they do with the stuff they don’t eat? They put it in gleaming silver
cans, just for us!
[opens the thrash cans and throws them]

RJ:
Dig in!

Two Indian cities come to my mind when I think of places that have the biggest variety of food available – Mumbai (the variety in cuisines & budget itself is mindboggling) and Hyderabad (just for the vertical in Irani and Andhra cuisines).

Anyways so this is a pimping post for an awesome Hyderabadi cuisine blog I just encountered at HydBlogs. – Zaiqa. I just hope to atleast tryout cooking some of these. Yummy!

The business of reality shows

Been thinking about the ‘reality show’ mania that is driving the India television scene currently. Not Indian only but worldwide. Not thinking as much but really appalled at the blind faith participants put in believing the ‘do-good’ side of a reality show that will make their life once and for all; that they provide a platform to showcase their ‘hidden’ talents (pile of shittake); at least that is what the TV shows and campaigns want everyone to believe. And the audience believing them to be real. I can vouch for sure if there is an editor given a live feed of my daily life he can at-least build a show that will have at-least 15 minutes worth of juicy entertainment in it. Or as Warhol said everyone is going to be famous for 15 minutes and for everyone the reality show is the portal to that dream.

TV shows are in the business of higher TRP ratings

I still find that people believe that the shows are a platform for showcase the hidden talents. Or as I would say What a pile of shittake. For what it’s worth, it is important to remember that TV shows are (in) a business business of TRP ratings a.k.a Entertainment. Repeat this mantra until you can understand what it means. It simply means that they will only choose to run a show if it has a higher potential for entertainment of the audiences – fair, square and simple for you. A show will choose a far lesser talented candidate if it can ‘milk‘ more entertainment from him as against a mightily talented one if he has zero ‘drama’ skills. It is as simple as that. The more the entertainment quotient in the candidates the higher chances of them getting a position in the show. I am hard-pressed to think of one talent show in India right now that is not a reality show, that does not project the emotions of the participants as one of the major points of its show.

And who are we judging really? Just a couple of years ago, we had every TV channel in India vying for a piece of the prime-time audience of mythological serials. Like the Hollywood movies where possible specimen in the biological chain has had a monster movie made out of it, we had mythological serials on every deity imaginable. Damn! at one time there were atleast 4 TV serials on Hanuman running on 4 different channels. And just recently we had everyone had gone scurrying building Celebrity-hosted quiz shows (Anupam Kher’s Sawaal Dus Crore Ka or that Neena Gupta’s Kamzor Kadi Koun or that Shekhar Kapoor’s quiz thing). Or how about remembering that times when every channel had a saas-bahu serial at prime time, which still goes on unabatedly? I am not even surprised at the predisposition of the channels to creating more and more reality shows – its chaotic, unscripted and as anyone who has been in the media business long enough will tell you, chaos is great entertainment. As for pathos, that’s the baap of all entertainment.

Pre-judged, pre-selected candidates (Of course do your math. Can 3 judges effectively select 2-3 candidates from 3K probables in a matter of 1-2 12 hr workdays considering they put in 3-5 minutes for each?) putting themselves bare naked of the editors to select, cut, edit and choose only the bestest, juiciest sound bytes for the whole nation to watch and to get entertained. Every possible type of moral story makes its way into the reality show. The hunk who gets thrown out in the early rounds(Well, woman/girls may fall for him in real life, but on TV, naaah), the budding romance between two averagely talented participants, the hardworking guy-next-door sweet looks kid who is going to be the superstart – the culmination of a dream of a average guy.

Or to quote Mike Wallace from the movie The Insider No that’s fame. Fame has a fifteen minute half-life, infamy lasts a little longer.” I think the sooner the participants understand that, the better off everyone is. Of course, as audience for what its all worth, it’s entertainment unplugged.

P.S: I strongly suggest reading Ben Elton’s books especially Chart throb, Dead Famous and Popcorn.

Content Drives Demand – Ronnie Screwvala on IK@W

IK@W -> India Knowledge @ Wharton
(Pardon that syntax, some erlang has crept into me).

Anyways, this time’s edition of IK@W is just great. Only very recently have I made it a point to make a note of K@W newsletters and assiduously go through their every article. And what a treasure trove it is turning out to be…

UTV’s Ronnie Screwvala on media, films and UTV

We are very selective. We like working with certain people — and that is what we do.The way we structure our deals is to work closely with the director. It
is imperative to work with a studio because the way the film is
marketed is crucial.

At that time, children’s programming represented a 1% market share;
today that has grown to 6% to 7%. That is because we have grown the
market.

Sesame Street’s approach didn’t go down well at all; it didn’t
strike a chord with its audience. Localization, to me, means that the
content has to originate locally.

I think differently about localization than about adaptation or
translation. There is a huge difference between these three concepts.
If we had taken Shin-Chan and tried to adapt it for India, it
would not have worked; we just took the show as it was and dubbed it.
When we did our local, live action Hero, if we had done that as an adaptation, that, too, would not have worked in that context.

You have to remember there’s a fine line between localization and adaptation. For example, take the comedy show Friends
— friendship is a universal concept, but if you were to take those
relationships and adapt them to a different culture, it wouldn’t work
because those relationships are not real in places like India.

when one is looking at a structure, most people don’t want to give up
51% because they don’t want to cross a mental barrier that says they
are giving up control. But we are here to create wealth — I would much
rather do that with a larger partner.

Marketing can take a reasonably successful movie and turn it into a
super success, but it can’t make a good movie into a very good movie.
Nor can it make a bad movie into a good movie.

It’s nice to keep discussing this at conferences
and on the lecture circuit — but let’s talk about the ground reality.
In every business there is a certain amount of leakage. There are
look-alike cars for some of the world’s most premium brands; that is a
different kind of piracy. We need to figure out how to tackle it in our
own business.

When we analyzed the impact of piracy on UTV, apart from looking at
enforcement, we saw that after a movie was released, all the other
rights were available in two or three years. We decided to shrink those
cycles to three or six weeks, so the DVD comes out within four to six
weeks of the movie’s release instead of after six months or one year.
The movie gets released on television in three months instead of three
years.

The more we contract these periods, the more we limit the impact of piracy.

Other articles for this week at K@W